Day 23: I’m an idiot (Sunday 20 November)

It’s a big day today. Lylea turns 40 and Judy turns 50. Nice work ladies! I hope you both have terrific birthdays filled with good company, food and fun. Notice I didn’t mention alcohol?!

Here is a note I wrote on Sunday morning to my doctors to ensure that my condition was accurately conveyed to them:

I woke up at three this morning with extreme pain. The pain was in the right side of my back but it spread around my shoulder to my elbow. The pain was not muscular and was not caused by a pull or a strain. The pain started about one quarter of the way down my back. During the night it migrated downwards and reached about two-thirds of the way down my body. Only the right side is painful. I took two of the pain tablets that Dr Yia gave me. They did not work. At about 5am I took two more of the tablets. That did not help either. The pain moved from the back of my body towards the front. At 7am I took 10mg of Oxycodone. This tablet did not provide any relief. I am concerned that I may be experiencing internal bleeding. I think I need a chest x-ray or ultrasound to investigate further. I have never had this kind of pain before. The pain gets worse if I lay on either side or my front. I can only lay on my back.

The doctors met me when I arrived at the hospital on Sunday morning and were eager to solve my latest problem and try to talk me down from my increasing concern (read: early onset paranoia). They gave me a shot of morphine and very soon afterwards the pain melted away. Morphine is not a nice drug at all and I itched all over for a few hours. But, no pain, and that was the name of the game.

The doctors determined that the cause of my back pain was an inflamed gallbladder. I was only 80% convinced about this diagnosis, while duly noting my lack of education in physiology. Fortunately the internet exactly confirmed the symptoms that I displayed. Doctors must really hate the internet and all the DIY medicos that it breeds. But once again, we were reassured. I was pretty worried that a tumour had popped open and started to bleed. I know that would mean surgery and I don’t want to have any more surgery this year. I especially don’t want to have any surgery so far from home. When I had my partial nephrectomy in February this year my four days of hospitalisation turned into six weeks, including two and a half weeks in ICU, not to mention three surgeries instead of one. That’s a life experience I can do without repeating although I do miss Milka (sp?) from ICU at SJOGHM who always had a steady supply of Milo and Frosty Fruits for me (especially important since I wouldn’t/ couldn’t eat anything else during that time).

After the back pain dissipated it was time for P53 – let’s get ready to rumble! I thought I was soooooo clever. I told Brad not to worry, this was just going to be a mild fever – no trouble at all. Uh huh. After a good chat on the phone with my freshly married friend the shivers started. To be fair, they weren’t so bad. But then the temperature came and stayed close to 40 degrees for about six hours. In the early stages I was offered Chinese medicine to control the fever. I declined. Then I was offered a dexamethasone mixture. I declined. AM I AN IDIOT??? After burning up for all that time with no amelioration in sight I finally had the dexamethasone which brought the temperature into a manageable range within an hour or two. The problem over all these hours wasn’t so much the temperature but the fact that I couldn’t even keep water down. I was desperate to rehydrate but each time I did the fluids and their friends would invariably find their way back up and out again into the lined rubbish bin (no bucket available).  Finally after 13 hours in hospital today and seven vomits (but who’s counting?) I got back to the hotel at 1030pm. Since neither lunch nor breakfast had stayed down I was strongly encouraged to eat when I got home – not what I wanted to do. I managed some muesli (Brookfarm Gluten Free that I’ve brought from Australia) plus a small banana and a Milo. That did the trick.

Of course my back pain started up again just as the fever subsided. Dr Yia gave me some Oxycontin for the pain but one tablet didn’t scratch the surface so he allowed me to have another one. Oh, I’ve also been told not to take these or any other drugs unless I ask permission first – they’ve cottoned on to me! So by the time we made it across the road to the hotel I was already away with the fairies. I don’t think I made a lot of sense last night so if I had any contact with you after 8pm AWST it might be best if you disregard anything I said. It was the drugs man…

Braddy gets a gold star today for being ridiculously patient and supportive all day. I have no idea how he got through the day. He basically sat in the stark, white room in an uncomfortable hospital chair all day and waited for me to go through the fever to take me home. He fed me water through a straw even though he knew what would come next, caught all my vomit with the bin and tried to cool me down with damp cloths. In fact, I think he might deserve a Scratch ‘n Sniff sticker too – maybe Strawberry Shortcake or something delicious and far removed from anything that he would have smelled in the hospital today!

Spoke to Mum and Dad over the past 24 hours or so. They are freaking out. They’ll probably freak out more when they read this in print. Come on – I gotta have some fun! All I can say is that even though I am having a tough time here it is nothing like when I was in ICU, on every drug under the sun after three surgeries in 11 days. That’s something positive, right? J

This was a tough day. Glad it is over.

John S – just so you know every time I type an apostrophe I do so with grave trepidation that I may put it in the wrong place and in doing so be judged as an under-educated GenY-er. The stress!


2 Responses to Day 23: I’m an idiot (Sunday 20 November)

  1. Marion says:

    You think you feel apostrophe stress! Try having an English degree – stuff up on an apostrophe and nobody lets you hear the end of it!

  2. Chris says:

    ..Yes i mentioned to a doctor the other day what i read on the internet and got a telling off.
    Anyway just want to let you know we are thinking of you .Jan just told me about the blog so have just tuned in.Also wanted to let you know that my church is praying for you .We believe in miracles we just pray that you will get one.Really hope that you and Brad will be coming home soon with some good news.

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